Is it "tell men with women" or "tall men with women" in the Deutschland?

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laurniko eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poem "The Wreck of the Deutschland" by Gerard Manley Hopkins includes the phrase tell men and women. The word "tall" doesn't appear in that stanza.

The line occurs in the second part of the poem. Hopkins writes:

On Saturday sailed from Bremen, 
Take settler and seamen, tell men with women, 
Two hundred souls in the round— 
O Father, not under thy feathers nor ever as guessing 
The goal was a shoal, of a fourth the doom to be drowned; 
Yet did the dark side of the bay of thy blessing 
Not vault them, the million of rounds of thy mercy not reeve even them in? 
He's writing about who is on the ship when it leaves from Bremen, which is located in northwest Germany. The ship is sailing to America with two hundred people -- but it's doomed to wreck. It does so at the mouth of the Thames River in England.
According to the Enotes summary, Hopkins wrote this poem about a real shipwreck. Even though he had decided not to write any more poems once he became a Jesuit priest, he was moved to do so by the awful event. His poem is dedicated to the five nuns who died in the crash. 
Read the study guide:
The Wreck of the Deutschland

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